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This year has been a lively one for ASUG members and for SAP with a variety of brand-new products appearing, along with the maturation of others (hello S/4HANA and HANA Cloud Platform!), and some twists on long-time offerings. In 2016, we saw a flowering of HANAs, a rebranding of SAP’s entire business intelligence and analytics product portfolio, and the formal welcoming into the fold of acquired cloud businesses such as Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, and SuccessFactors.
ASUG members and other customers had plenty to say, and so did SAP and industry observers. Captured below for your reading pleasure are some of our favorite quotes of the year which appeared in ASUGNews articles. Enjoy!
Empathy R Us
“We have to care more about your business and do more than any other company in our industry or we’re an also-ran.” -SAP CEO Bill McDermott talking about his desire for a “new kind of SAP” which exhibits plenty of empathy for its customers. By the way, he added during his Sapphire keynote address, that if SAP customers aren’t satisfied, they could contact him at email@example.com.
Heading to S/4HANA?
“Adopt a zero-customizations approach and use that to shorten the cycles and also to clean up any legacy process complexity you have because today that thing that matters most is system and process agility. And you can’t be agile if you’re complex.” –Niel Nickolaisen, CTO at O.C. Tanner, a global employee rewards and recognition company, an ASUG member and an early adopter of S/4HANA. Previously using SAP for about 18 years, the company had so heavily customized the software that it became “a kind of barrier to our organizational agility,” Nickolaisen added.
That Name Changing Thing You Do
“BusinessObjects for Cloud is this funny name that's changing its name faster than you can analyze it.” -Hasso Plattner, SAP’s cofounder and chairman of the vendor’s Supervisory Board, who couldn’t resist a dig or two at SAP’s 2016 business intelligence product portfolio rebranding unveiled at Annual Conference and Sapphire Now in May.
“We hope to be popular in Germany.” -Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd’s quip re his company’s hope for its acquired NetSuite business. Oracle has committed to maintain NetSuite’s cloud apps “forever” and to pump resources into the business to take on SAP and others in the fragmented small-to-midsize business apps arena.
The SaaS Buck Stops Here
“With the public cloud, for the end user, we are the IT department.” -Michael Kleinemeier, head of SAP’s Digital Business Services organization, discussing how SAP’s traditional relationship with customers shifts in the cloud to one requiring the vendor to engage in much more proactive communication.
Changing Deployments in Mid-Stream
“We flipped from SAP on-premise to Employee Central. If we had continued to implement [SAP on-premise HCM] around the globe, we would be obsolete before we were done.” –Shakti Jauhar, SVP of global human resources operations and shared services at PepsiCo, describing the bold move the organization took to switch mid-way through an SAP HCM on-premise global implementation to start rolling out SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central instead.
Growing Up, Oh HEC, Yes!
“This is quickly becoming a grown-up business. It was a small toddler two years ago.” -SAP CFO Luca Mucic on the vendor’s private or managed cloud, HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), a triple-digit-million-euro business.
Don’t Talk to Me About the Next @#$% Version!
“For some customers, ‘release’ is almost a swearword. Microservices take the fear out of [a software] release.” –Chris Lords, CTO of FPX, an enterprise configure price quote apps vendor, which is an early embedder of SAP Hybris-as-a-service (YaaS) into its software.
Space, the Final IT Frontier?
“Space research has always been and in future will be the incubator for technology progress.” -Bernd Leukert, SAP’s products chief, in introducing co-innovation partner the European Space Agency, with whom SAP is working on the Earth Observation Analysis HANA microservice.
Please Don’t Overfeed the Business Users!
“We don’t want to overfeed them [the business consumers of data] or leave them hungry. We’ve just got to get them well-fed.” –Ben Helland, BI analyst at the University of Utah Health Care, on the importance of getting the information flow balance right with self-service analytics.
How to Lessen the Pain of Payment
“If you can make the payment seem far away, it will make the payment seem smaller.” and “Bundling is good—if you bundle everything together, it feels cheaper since you’re only paying once.” –Adam Alter, associate professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business recommending that his keynote audience at SAP Hybris Americas Summit start thinking (and thus rethinking) of invoicing in terms of causing customers actual physical pain.
From Chaos to Stability
“I went into that room without asking and I ripped all the paper off the wall. The staff freaked out, but I said we had to put together a formal process.” –Sam Quick, VP of global IT and CIO at Varroc Lighting Systems, on his discovery of how IT project management was being handled prior to his arrival at the company—a manual process involving a room with giant pieces of paper taped on the wall listing all projects. One of the key appointments Quick made was a project management manager and creating formal processes for managing projects in a project management office (PMO).
At Either End of an ERP Project Teeter Totter
“If you don’t do much change management, a lot of time people don’t want to change, and that manifests as customization. If you don’t do any customization, that magnifies the need for change. It’s important to look at them together and figure out how to balance them out.” –Eric Kimberling, founder and managing partner of ERP consultancy Panorama Consulting Solutions, on the importance of keeping organizational change and customization efforts in balance so as to realize a successful ERP implementation.
“Just giving everybody a pencil doesn’t make them Picasso.” -Timo Elliott, BI and analytics innovation evangelist at SAP, with a quick caveat about self-service analytics and the role IT can still play in helping with user enablement and training around correct usage like a “neighborhood watch.” Elliott’s also someone who’s pretty skilled with a pencil, do check out his entertaining analytics-focused cartoons.
Painting Some Happy Clouds?
“People need a color-by-number education with a giant crayon on how to go from the old world to the new world.” -SAP CEO Bill McDermott on the vendor’s nascent plans, back in April, for intensifying customer education efforts.
Feeling Secure, Part 1
“Security can no longer be that ‘Office of No,’ and we really need to look at ourselves as the devil’s advocate for how can we enable things in the business.” –Grant Sewell, manager for global information security strategy at Scotts Miracle-Gro, an ASUG member, on the need for organizations to not only rethink business practices, but to also disrupt support practices, notably security support.
Feeling Secure, Part 2
“If I could get one message to every CEO in the world, it is: ‘You are a target.’ It almost embarrasses me to say this--because I’ve said same thing for 15 years--there are still companies out there who think they don’t have anything to worry about.” -International cybersecurity expert and keynote speaker Mark Weatherford, whose day job is senior VP and chief cybersecurity strategist at security firm vArmour. He counters CEO complacency with a blunt follow-up question: “If you don’t have anything of value to steal, why are you in business?”
Leave the Gut Behind
“The problem you have with analytics expansion at [successful companies] is that a lot of people in the business have been running from the gut forever. It would be a lot easier if the company is struggling a little bit.” -Kyle Wierenga, manager of advanced analytics at Costco, with some general advice to peers on how best to introduce analytics to their organizations: namely, present analytics as a guiding technology, not as a final decision maker.
Keeping the Startup Mentality Alive…
“Very early in the process [SAP CEO] Bill McDermott came to [our headquarters in] Chicago and compared SAP to a big friendly elephant—Dumbo. He said, ‘Sometimes, we’ll be in your living room breaking things—but I empower you guys to say timeout when this is hurting our business.’” -Arun Srinivasan, senior vice president for strategy and customer operations at SAP Fieldglass, reflecting on the 2014 acquisition of the cloud contingent workforce management startup by SAP.
…But Not Too Alive, OK?
“With acquisitions, we’d like to see better technical integration. Move quickly on those… Sometimes I feel like we are dealing with two companies or more with different ways of doing things.” -Nestle CIO Terence Stacey talking about his company’s experiences (and struggles) in trying to run most of SAP’s application portfolio including cloud products like Ariba and Concur, along with a move to S/4HANA.
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